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Generals' hard work pays off
Generals 5, Grrrowl 2
BY KEITH TOLBERT
Special to the News & Record
March 16, 2002
GREENSBORO - There was a different team on the ice at the Greensboro Coliseum, and it gave every impression the Greensboro Generals will end the season on an up note.
The Generals (20-36-8) took advantage of early scoring opportunities, played solid defense and cruised to the 5-2 victory over the Greenville Grrrowl on Friday night.
"If you didn't know their names, you would think it was a different team," interim head coach Alex Godynyuk said. "They played like a team and not like individuals."
The turnaround may have come from a practice the players won't forget.
After an eight-game winless streak and back-to-back blowouts, Godynyuk had seen enough. He made the team skate for the entire 40 minutes of practice Thursday.
"When you see a team playing without heart or effort, you have do that," Godynyuk said. "Sometimes it works. It brought the team together."
Although goalie Frederic Henry wasn't at the practice, he still benefited from the results. The defensive effort was there for the Generals all night and Henry backed it up by stopping 32 of 34 shots.
"I could see the puck because my teammates were there (to keep the opposing players away from the net)," Henry said. "I always was making one save instead of two or three at a time."
Trailing 1-0, the Generals scored two quick goals in the last two minutes of the first period. The first goal came on a crisp pass from Dimitri Markovsky to Jeff Zehr to tie the score.
Defenseman Andrei Lupandin took a centering pass from Chris Brassard and made the Grrrowl pay for leaving him unchecked to make it 2-1 with 56 seconds left in the first.
The Generals scored early in the second period when Dennis Maxwell found James Desmarais open in front of the net to give the Generals a 3-1 advantage with 18:25 to go in the period.
The Grrrowl tried to make it interesting when they scored with 6:25 to go on a power-play goal by Sean Venedam.
But the Generals put it away when they scored two goals in the final five minutes, thanks to a five-minute slashing penalty against the Grrrowl's Simon Gamache.
"Hopefully, we can build on this win and get some confidence," Godynyuk said. "If they can play the same way they did tonight, we are going to win a lot of games the rest of the season."